Steven Guilbeault, known informally as the “Green Jesus of Montreal,” though Minister for Environment and Climate Change is his official title, recently released the Trudeau government’s revised net-zero regulation plans and they are a doozy. From the National Post:
Steven Guilbeault’s newly announced plan to largely phase out the use of fossil fuels to generate power in Canada over the next 12 years is being criticized as costly and unrealistic, despite his claims that higher electricity costs would be offset by savings on oil and gas… Environment and Climate Change Canada officials said in a technical briefing that the national average household energy bill would increase by between $35 and $61 per year when the regulations are adopted by 2040…. It also projects that the increase would be offset by savings when consumers reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, for instance the savings from the cheaper cost of recharging an electric vehicle (EV) compared to filling up with gasoline.
Rather than tapping the breaks on plans which have contributed to their party’s slumping popularity in a time of economic hardship, the Trudeau Liberals are pushing pedal to the metal. The plan requires forcing a nation whose economy is so dependent on fossil fuels — the resource sector makes up 10 percent of Canada’s economy, by some measures — to abandon them almost entirely, in just over a decade, and to replace them with energy sources which are entirely unreliable. That includes not just solar panels and wind turbines, of whose intermittency problems regular Pipeline readers are well aware, but also massively increasing the number of heat pumps used in homes, which are known for not working particularly well in extremely cold weather. And if Canada is known for anything, it’s the cold.
Predictably, the most oil-and-gas dependent provinces are outraged. Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe released a statement saying the regulations are “unaffordable, unrealistic and unconstitutional,” that “they will drive electricity rates through the roof and leave Saskatchewan with an unreliable power supply” — which of course is the entire punitive point — and that “Trudeau’s net-zero targets are simply not achievable in Saskatchewan, and we will not ask our residents to pay the extraordinary price for the federal government’s divisive policies, nor will we risk the integrity of our provincial power grid to defy the laws of thermodynamics.” Alberta premier Danielle Smith said the “net-zero power grid regulations are unconstitutional, irresponsible,” and vowed that they “will not be implemented in our province — period.”
Lesser objections have come from provinces such as B.C. and Ontario, which already lean heavily on low-carbon energy sources. But, argues Adam Pankratz in an article entitled “Steven Guilbeault’s net-zero plan is laughably impossible,” those provinces should still be concerned. That’s because there’s a big difference between being 80 percent in compliance with these regulations and being fully compliant. By his math, B.C. would need to build 22 new hydro electric dams (he asks, “which 22 rivers would he suggest we dam up to provide this electricity?”) at the cost of $352 billion dollars. Meanwhile, if it was decided that they should make up that short-fall with nuclear, it would mean constructing “five or more reactors and a bill anywhere between $52 billion on the unrealistic low end and $262 billion.”
Guilbeault says that Ottawa is prepared to kick in $40 billion over the next ten years, which his department estimates “will offset more than half” of the cost of the transition. As the above numbers show, that is extremely unlikely. Especially since the regulations entail putting thousands of tax-paying Canadians out of work by killing off the oil and gas industry.
These regulations are a disaster for Canada. Hopefully enough Canadians recognize that fact to ensure that they’re never enacted. The most obvious way to stop them, of course, would be to vote Conservative, which polling suggests they’re increasingly willing to do. Hopefully they do, and send Trudeau, Guilbeault, & Co back to the unrealistic and malignant activist world whence they came.